Lomo makes a scanner!


by Bellamy /

3 min read

The Lomography Smartphone film scanner
Looks like Lomo have some big plans up their sleeves, by combining modern smartphone technology and portability with a film scanner they could be on to another winner.

Lomo have certainly been upping their game in recent months, with lots of press coverage and the release of their Belair camera. And now they have decided to start up a Kickstarter campaign to get their latest plan on the road…The Smartphone Film Scanner. And it has been a success for them already, they are well over halfway to meeting the goal of $50,000. Not bad at all.
Though I must admit, I am quite surprised that they are doing a kickstarter. It is not as if Lomo is a small company that is short of cash, they have the money to develop this themselves. If you couldn’t already tell, I am quite opposed to Kickstarter anyway, but I don’t really think that Lomo needs to use this platform for their ideas.
Anyway, I digress. So, what do we have here?

Well, it is a portable scanner, that utilizes your smartphone to scan your 35mm negatives (sorry, no 120, maybe in the future?). It is a simple concept, much the same as the old slide film adapters of the past that allowed your film camera to shoot negative copies of all of your slides.
This is a great idea for all of the people that are either just getting into film or are not about to take things to the next level. The quality is not going to be all that great, as you are using a smartphone and it was never designed for this. But it will give your images that distinct Lomo edge. It will also make posting your film shots on instagram etc all that much easier.
The process will be done through an app (which I really hope you will not have to pay for if you have bought the scanner), which will also allow you to edit your images in your phone.
Although Lomo claims that the scan will be off sufficient quality to print and share, I think they are reaching a little bit far when they claim that you could archive them too. I mean, you could, but if I am archiving scans of my negatives I want the highest possible resolution, preferably done in RAW or TIFF files, zero dust and with Anti Newton glass, but that is just me and I am a geek. These will be usable images for the instant generation who can chuck them on flickr whilst riding the train home from getting their negs developed.

I think one thing that is cool about this is the size. It is tiny and portable, which makes it easy to scan on the move. I for one like that as I am soooo tired of lugging my Epson GT-X970 around with me every time I go travelling….
But really, that is a good thing, it will make sharing your images that much easier, especially for the portable generation who now seem to do everything through their phones.
And it seems that the pricing should be pretty friendly too, making it even more accessible. I joke about my Epson, but that thing did cost a fortune and is a serious investment if you are only just getting into film. The Lomo scanner is going to be a lot more attractive to many.

I think this is a smart move on behalf of Lomo, and even if the product is not perfect, it is going to give a new group of people great access to film and that cannot be a bad thing at all.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you supported the campaign? Tell us what you think.

9 comments on “Lomo makes a scanner!”

    Cosh January 15, 2013 at 9:04 am / Reply

    Lomo really does not need a kickstarter at all. The sales success of its Bel Air alone could have paid for this device (which is essentially a mount for a phone and a sprocket to wind film on).

    It’s an interesting marketing move which will surely see them reporting good profits for 2013.

    Joseph Camosy January 15, 2013 at 9:17 am / Reply

    They may not need KickStarter, but I can see it as a great way of determining market demand before building it. People are not just saying that they’d buy one, they’re putting their own money on it.

    PJ Ortiz Luis January 15, 2013 at 9:34 am / Reply

    i personally just love the fact that anologue film products are starting to hit crowdsourcing sites. although, i can realistically see myself building something like this myself using an old camera to advance the film place on top of an iPad to backlight it….lomography definitely has their head in the right place though.

    Chuck January 15, 2013 at 9:43 am / Reply

    From what I read, the money raised from Kickstarter is to fund the free app development. I agree that this will get a lot more people into film. I really hope it does well enough for them to create a medium format version.

    Tavis January 15, 2013 at 10:21 am / Reply

    I bought one. I think just from a digital lightboard for negatives standpoint, it can be a useful tool for deciding on which negs to do a high res scan of.

    Plus i love playing around with the lomokino, but making movie is a huge pain in the ass (unless it was done on slide film, and even then a pain to line of scans).

    FYI, in the kickstarter comments section, Lomography said the app will be free.

    Brett Askinazi January 15, 2013 at 11:18 am / Reply

    This reminds me a lot of the Impossible Project’s ‘Instant Lab’ which was also funded by Kickstarter. A slightly different concept, but very similar in the use of a smartphone.

    The timing seems a little more than co-incidental, especially since Mijonju talked of similar concepts of possibly creating a print from a 6×6 negative using the ‘Instant Lab’ on his Youtube channel.

    Below are some links … forgiveness if you don’t allow external links.

    The instant Lab on kickstarter (over).

    Mijonju talks about the Instant Lab on his show;

    stanislaw riccadonna zolczynski January 15, 2013 at 5:51 pm / Reply

    Is there a specialized app for scanning color negs included? As everybody knows it`s very difficult to scan various color negs due to orange mask.

    raphael January 15, 2013 at 5:54 pm / Reply

    i think it will only work with positive film!

    kristina January 27, 2013 at 6:21 am / Reply

    I think that Lomo already did its own “kickstarter” by doing presales of the Bel-Air and charging immediately then shipping months later. That way they ensured themselves that they didn’t waste any money on extra copies until they knew they’d cover the costs. At least doing a formal kickstarter for the scanner was more straight-forward.

    I funded this kickstarter project because for $40, who cares, it’s no big loss and will be a fun toy.

    I wouldn’t be so sure that Lomo doesn’t have $ problems though…

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